October 1989 -- In space, a small ship heads straight for Earth, surrounded by a cluster of meteors. On Earth, meanwhile, billionaire Lionel Luthor descends upon Smallville, Kansas in a private helicopter with his young, redheaded son, Lex, who, as it turns out, has a fear of flying. Lionel notices the boy's eyes shut tight, and demands that he stop that nonsense and open his eyes. Meanwhile, childless couple Jonathan and Martha Kent step into the local flower shop, where they spot a three-year-old, Lana Lang, in a fairy princess costume. The shop's proprietor, Nell Potter, is "being the good aunt" while Lana's parents are at the high school's homecoming game. Fairy Princess Lana asks Martha to make a wish, then waves her plastic wand around. Outside the shop later, Jonathan and Martha discuss the wish she made, and she admits that all she's ever wanted is a child. Meanwhile, as Lionel finishes up a business deal at a creamed corn factory, Lex wanders into a cornfield, and comes across Jeremy Creek, a teenager who's been stripped to his boxers and strung up like a scarecrow. Jeremy pleads for Lex's help, just as a meteor strikes nearby, engulfing the field in dust. The rest of Smallville is similarly bombarded, including Main Street, where Lana and her aunt watch in horror as Lana's parents are struck down by a meteor. When it's all over, Lionel is shocked to find his son in the middle of a field, bald but alive. The Kents, meanwhile, are stranded in their overturned truck, when they're approached by a naked toddler, who leans down and smiles at them. Wrapping the toddler in a blanket, they try to figure out where he came from, when they come across the spacecraft he arrived in. Jonathan says they can't keep him, pointing out that it's not like they can just tell people they found him in a field. Martha, however, counters that the boy found them.
October 2001 -- The boy, now a teenager named Clark Kent, asks Jonathan to sign his permission slip for football tryouts, but Jonathan refuses, despite Clark's assurances that he can be careful. Disappointed, Clark leaves to go to school, only to find he's missed the bus, and is instead forced to use his superspeed. At Smallville High, Clark catches up with his friends, Pete Ross and Chloe Sullivan, the latter of whom mocks the other two for wanting to join the football team. Pete then reveals to Chloe that every year before the homecoming game, the jocks take a freshman, strip him down to his underwear, and string him up in a field like a scarecrow (which would explain Jeremy Creek). Pete explains that by joining the football team, he and Clark hope to avoid the "years of therapy waiting to happen." Just then, Clark notices his crush, Lana Lang, and goes to talk to her, but trips on the way, dropping his books in the process. As Lana helps him pick up his things, they get to talking about Nietzsche and the concept of the super-man, until her jock boyfriend, Whitney Fordman, appears. Meanwhile, Jeremy Creek, locked in time since the day of the meteor shower, breaks into the school's trophy case and steals a picture of some football players. Elsewhere, a now-grown Lex Luthor arrives at the LuthorCorp Fertilizer Plant in Smallville, looking around dismally before heading inside. Back at Smallville High, Clark watches Lana during her cheerleading practice, and daydreams that he's a star football player with Lana as his cheerleader girlfriend. While walking home after school, Clark stops to daydream some more on Loeb Bridge, just as Lex speeds towards the bridge in his Porsche, distracted by his ringing cell phone. He looks up and quickly swerves to avoid something in the road, but ends up barreling into Clark, sending them both into the river below. Clark, apparently unharmed, pulls Lex out of the car, drags him toward the shore, and performs CPR.
Later, Jonathan arrives on the scene and angrily berates Lex, telling him to drive slower next time, before taking Clark home. That night, in Clark's barn loft, Clark positions his telescope to spy on Lana as she hangs out on her front porch. She's soon joined by Whitney, and as the two are talking, she lends him her necklace to wear in the homecoming game. She explains that it was made from a piece of the meteor that killed her parents, expressing her hope that something good will come out of it. Meanwhile, at Frank's Auto Repair, Jeremy surprises Frank, a former Smallville High football player, and electrocutes him. The next day, Clark returns home to find a new truck in the driveway, and learns that it's a gift from Lex in gratitude for saving his life. Jonathan refuses to let him keep it, however, even after Clark offers up the compromise of driving the old truck while Jonathan drives the new one. Jonathan says it's "normal" for Clark to be upset at his decision, and Clark responds by sticking his hand in a wood chipper (as you do). When Clark is left unharmed, he declares himself not normal, and insists that he'd "give anything" to be normal. That evening, Jonathan explains that Clark's birth parents are from another planet, before taking him to the storm cellar to show him the spacecraft Clark had arrived in. Angry that his parents didn't tell him sooner, Clark superspeeds away.
Later, Lana runs into Clark at the local cemetery, and 'introduces' him to her parents, who died during the meteor shower. The two talk for a while, then Clark walks Lana home. Unknown to either of them, Whitney jealously spies on them from Lana's porch. The next day, Clark pays a visit to Lex's mansion, interrupting a fencing session to return Lex's gift. Lex points out that he got a second chance at life when Clark saved him, and declares his intentions for them to be friends. Meanwhile, in town, Chloe, Pete, and a small crowd watch as a former jock, the third that week, is wheeled out on a stretcher. Noticing Jeremy among the onlookers, Chloe and Pete take his picture, and later identify him through a yearbook from 1989. They explain to Clark that Jeremy was in a coma for twelve years, and that the reason he hasn't appeared to age at all in that time is due to a "massive" electrolyte imbalance. They add that there was an electrical storm a few days ago that somehow awakened Jeremy, and that he's getting revenge on the jocks that made him the Smallville High scarecrow in 1989. Chloe then shows Clark her Wall of Weird, which documents "every strange, bizarre, and unexplained event that's happened in Smallville since the meteor shower." When he spots a picture of Lana that was taken shortly after the meteor shower, he instantly blames himself for the death of her parents, and quickly leaves. Outside, Whitney and his fellow jocks ambush him, declaring Clark this year's scarecrow. Clark tries to fight back, but he's weakened by Lana's necklace, which Whitney places around Clark's neck. Whitney and the other jocks load Clark into the back of Whitney's truck, as Jeremy watches nearby.
That night, Jeremy finds Clark strung up in a field like a scarecrow, and comes to the realization that despite getting his revenge, the tradition will never stop. So, Jeremy leaves Clark where he is, insisting that Clark's safer there, and heads to the homecoming dance. As Lex is driving by, he notices Jeremy leaving, and recognizes him from twelve years before. He investigates, finding Clark in the field. Lex gets him down, and in the process, Lana's necklace falls off. Immediately feeling better, Clark assures Lex that he's fine, then grabs his clothes and takes off after Jeremy. At the homecoming dance, Jeremy prepares to set off the sprinkler system with the intent of electrocuting everyone in attendance, when Clark shows up to stop him. Jeremy tries to electrocute Clark, but when that doesn't work, he then tries to run him over with a truck and ends up crashing through a water main. When Jeremy comes into contact with the water, he gets electrocuted. Clark goes to check on him, only to find Jeremy's aged twelve years and doesn't remember who CLark is. Clark then checks in on the dance attendees, and catches Lana and Whitney sharing a kiss. He starts to leave, but then notices Whitney's truck outside and clearly gets an idea. Whitney soon comes out to find his truck stacked on top of two others. Back in the barn loft, Clark tells Jonathan that he's glad the Kents were the ones that found him, but Jonathan counters that Clark found them, and then leaves. Clark then daydreams that Lana comes by to dance with him, just as the real Lana arrives home from the dance. As he watches her head inside her house, he quietly thanks her for the dance, and she stops and looks around, almost as if she's heard him.